Wednesday, December 16, 2009


For more photos click on the Flickr cloud to the right....

Most years I vowed to start the Christmas letter early or to keep track of major events all year and so to post this primary-source, family history but this year I didn’t even try.
In January Rick and I went to Singapore and then cruised around Australia and New Zealand. We traveled 5 weeks—a trip made possible by friends who helped with house, mail and cat tending.
The photo above was taken looking down from the top of the monument at Borobodur while the next photo is from the paper factory and museum in Burnie, Australia.

Next is of a farmer works his field in Bali.

While we were home in the summer Rick and I (mostly Rick) worked on doors— 4 of them. My favorite is the door to the basement studios. Rick repaired a door rescued from a trash pile and we installed my handmade sunflower tiles in place of the glass. As part of the door project I meant to paint the front door green but all I managed was to leave the can of primer in the front hall for 2 months. Maybe in the spring

The other big event this summer was our garden. Rick a rototilled the sand and compost into a nice mix and I planted snow peas, tomatoes, broccoli, garlic, pumpkins, squash, strawberries and rhubarb.

The rhubarb & pumpkins took over the land. I planned on strawberry rhubarb crisp for Rick but there were few strawberries (next year will be great) so looked toward apples but we didn’t get a single apple this year from a tree that generally had bushels to share.
The radishes were round and spicy; the carrots short and sweet and the lettuce grew faster than we could chew. One gourd seed from the compost germinated and gave us about 50 gourds but the tomatoes rotted for us as they did for most.

The broccoli produced until after snowfall. We’re making the garden larger next year and planting okra and more things that appeal to Rick so that means fewer zucchini.

While our tomatoes rotted we went to the Baltic States on a cruise. This photo is part of the city wall in Tallin, Estonia.

I spent Halloween in Boston with Emilie and Josh. Em was a speaker at the Boston Vegetarian Society Food Fest. Josh and I helped her serve 400 samples of food to her guests during the event and then we all went out dancing that night.

Jay had several pieces of his work accepted as part of the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery annual group exhibition. “I Don’t Watch the Internet” opened on Dec 10 and runs through January 16. Rick and I are going after Christmas. a(This is Rick, Me, Miss Dot, and Jay in Philly. Miss Dot is Jay's neighbor and extended family.

Other than that I continue to play flute and make pottery. Rick builds furniture, works on the 1939 Chevy and fixes things I break. The cat purrs; snow falls; fire snaps and one hopes the world comes to value kindness.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Alfred University Equestrian Teams

The Alfred University Equestrian teams work diligently to ride precisely. They aim for technical perfection as a rule but once a year they get a little wacky and ride in costume, to music, without judges, just for fun. That happened last Sunday at the Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center.

There were top hats, feathers, glitter, donkey ears and a horse’s tail fighting for relief from a green Shrek costume.

First up was Kristen Kovatch in her equestrian version of Brittney Spears. Kristen rode “Docs Peppy Image” – her own horse – while Brittney’s recording of “Circus” filled the arena. There was some impressive galloping where she and the horse leaned into the turns as if she was taking a winding road full speed on a motorcycle.

Nick Munch rode “Mighty Little Lena” and Katherine Kennedy rode “Roan” with her fluffy skirt blowing to the tune of “Love Story.”

Aeryn Dougan dressed her horse, “Spring Start” as Shrek and herself as a big-bellied donkey and performed to “Bad Reputation” from the first Shrek movie.

Hanna Certis rode “Old Frank Hickory” to the sound of “I Can Sleep When I’m Dead,” one of several country western tunes that thumped along with the hooves in the area. Another was “Address in the Stars,” a song that accompanied Kayla Summerville on her glitter-speckled horse “Paulie.”

There was an impressive dressage duo drill by Rebecca Jacobson and Beth Ulbrecht. Beth is the head captain of the English varsity equestrian team which is currently in second place in the region – their best performance ranking so far.

Finally there was another freestyle western performance – a trio with Kristen Kovatch, Natalie Grow and Kate West.
The arena is a fairly large area but it seemed to shrink when filled with three speeding, skidding horses. It took guts and confidence to attempt that work with a trio but it went smoothly as one would expect because these three women are members of the Western Riding Team and are in 2nd place in the region.

There are 3 more events open to the public in the near future. All are free though there will be food for sale in the concession stand.

On January 16 & 17 Alfred U will host the Western Interscholastic Equestrian Association Show and on February 6th they will host the Western Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. Both evens generally run from 9 am to 4 pm and the arena has heated viewing areas on both floors where visitors may sit or stand and watch. All are welcome to attend.

There’s also a horse sale scheduled for December 12. The sale will feature 5 colts used in the Training Program. These colts were purchased so that students could experience training a horse and the sale is a part of that class. In addition to those 5 colts there will be about a dozen other horses for sale.
For more information visit or contact Nancy Kohler, Program Director, at 607.587.9012 and remember to “cowboy up.”